BRUSSELS, July 1 (KUNA) -- Making quality education a goal in all national development projects, Kuwait seeks to strengthen academic and research cooperation with the European Union (EU), according to a top Kuwaiti educationist and academic.
"There are undoubtedly many academic and research opportunities of high quality at excellent universities in European Union. The opportunities should be presented to the ministry of higher education who manages the government international scholarships programs," Director General of Kuwait's National Bureau for Academic Accreditation and Education Quality Assurance Dr. Hamad Al-Adwani told an online event organised in the European Parliament.
"The State of Kuwait has made quality education a goal in all national development projects. Kuwait is fully committed to providing its citizens with the opportunity to achieve the highest possible level of education as dictated by its constitution," he said.
The online event on the topic "Higher Education in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Cooperation with the EU" was organised by the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula (DARP) on Thursday.
On the scientific research field, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research is participating in the EU Horizon 2020 research financing scheme in collaboration with some European research institutions, he said.
The Kuwaiti government also offers international scholarships to Kuwaiti high school graduates to study abroad, he said, adding that there are more than 15,000 Kuwaiti students currently enrolled in this program in various disciplines in several countries around the world.
USD one billion was spent on the international scholarship program last year alone. Of the 15,000 scholarship students worldwide, 1,000 Kuwaitis of them are studying in the EU, especially in Ireland, France, Spain, Malta, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden, he remarked.
Moreover, the Kuwait Program at the Paris Institute of Political Sciences, commonly referred to as Sciences Po Paris, is an example of the cooperation and fruit of a long-term partnership between the Kuwait foundation for the advancement of sciences and the Paris Institute, Dr. Al-Adwani stated.
The National Bureau for Academic Accreditation and Education Quality Assurance is also in the process of preparing a memorandum of understanding with the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education in France to establish frameworks for cooperation between the two sides.
The Kuwaiti cultural office attached to the Embassy of Kuwait in Paris oversees its studentsآ’ affairs at various EU universities. There is another Culture office in Dublin, focussed only on Kuwaiti students in Ireland.
The Public Authority for Applied Education and Training is the second wing of higher education in Kuwait and is concerned with providing professional skills to the local labour market. The authority's budget for last year was USD one billion with an enrollment of 56,000 students.
Moreover, there are fourteen private universities operating in Kuwait that offer various branches of knowledge and award diplomas, bachelors, and masterآ’s degrees.
Dr. Hamad Al-Adwani pointed out that one of the main reasons that make Kuwaiti scholarship students shy away from studying in the EU is the language barrier.
"The EU countries must put more effort in informing the Kuwaiti youth about the existence of these educational opportunities and present the language as an added value not a challenge to encourage them to study in EU countries so these studentsآ’ become bridges for the transfer of culture and science between Kuwait and the EU," he concluded. (end)